Date: March 6, 2020
The health and wellbeing of students and staff are always my top priorities.
You may have heard that Los Angeles County has declared a local health emergency in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). At the time of this writing there are seven known cases of the coronavirus in the county.
In the first case, the person has recovered. In the six new cases, the source of exposure is known and there are no cases of community transmission.
According to the LA County Department of Public Health (DPH), we can expect more confirmed cases in the near future. The focus continues to be on preventing spread of the illness by following basic sanitary practices.
It’s a good time for all of us to become prepared, but not to panic.
There currently are no school closures. DPH will work with schools to assess and determine, on a case by case basis, if a school needs to dismiss or close. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in an individual who has been at school, it is not an automatic reason for school dismissal or closure. DPH will make the determination.
Please continue to take all possible precautions to help reduce the risk of spreading germs to others. These include the following recommendations from DPH:
1) The #1 prevention method is frequent handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used. Use of soap and water is best.
2) Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
3) Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
4) Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
5) Face masks are most effective when used appropriately by health care workers and people who are sick.
6) Get the flu vaccine if you have not done so this season. It’s not too late to get the flu vaccine. Being protected against the flu will decrease the number of people using healthcare resources and allow resources to be available for people who may have COVID-19.
7) DPH states there is no current need for significant “social distancing” measures in LA County, and the individual risk for contracting COVID-19 remains low for most individuals. However, DPH encourages everyone to make personal preparations now that include:
8) Having an ample supply of essentials at home (including water, food, hygiene, medications, and pet food).
- Practicing simple strategies that limit your exposure to others who may be ill (such as verbal salutations in place of handshakes and hugs, not sharing utensils, cups and linens).
Lastly, it is important that we do not act out of fear, but rather focus on treating everyone in our community with kindness. Kindness is a part of our District culture and I know that we will continue to support an environment in which all students, staff, and families feel welcome. Be aware of misinformation surrounding the coronavirus.
You can get the most accurate information on the DPH website here.
Thank you for your support of our school community.